In-depth survey report: control technology for ethylene oxide sterilization in hospitals at Euclid General Hospital, Euclid, Ohio, report no. CT-146-14b.
An indepth survey of control technology for ethylene-oxide (75218) sterilization was conducted in the Central Services Department of Euclid General Hospital (SIC-8062), Euclid, Ohio in September, 1984. Industrial hygiene sampling for ethylene-oxide was conducted. Engineering controls consisted of local exhaust ventilation above the sterilizers, at the drain, at the safety relief valve, and around the ethylene-oxide cylinders, general ventilation, and use of a pulse/purge phase at the end of the sterilization cycle. A three component ethylene-oxide monitoring program was in place, consisting of continuous monitoring with an alarm system, environmental area monitoring performed by an outside contractor, and medical monitoring. All time weighted average (TWA) ethylene-oxide exposures were below 0.2 part per million. The OSHA TWA standard for ethylene-oxide is 1ppm. Proper work practices for employees were outlined in a procedure and policy manual. The Central Services Director provided education and training on proper work practices and the hazards of ethylene-oxide exposure. The author concludes that the engineering controls at the facility successfully minimize employee exposure to ethylene-oxide. Based on the survey results, the Central Services Department should be commended for a very sound program for ethylene-oxide control.